Good News For Fans Of Deconstructed Strained Peas: Babies Still Allowed Inside Alinea

The recent fuss over the question of whether babies should be allowed inside Chicago restaurant Alinea struck a nerve online; some people were sympathetic, others baffled as to why someone would bring an 8-month-old along for a four-hour tasting menu. It turns out, though, that many readers and even media outlets made assumptions about the incident that aren’t true.

When you’re paying hundreds of dollars to eat cutting-edge food in a fancy setting, a crying baby is one of the last things that you want hanging out in the dining room. There were a lot of assumptions that outsiders made about the situation, though, and the Chicago Reader contacted Alinea’s chief wizard/co-owner Grant Achatz to clear these up.

Who brings a baby to Alinea?

Most readers assumed that the party in question was a couple, but it was a party of four.

Yes, but who were these people and why did they bring the baby?

Media outlets (including Consumerist) speculated that the baby-sitter must have canceled at the last minute, but they never told the restaurant that.

Where were they sitting?

They were in a small downstairs dining room with five tables.

When did the baby start to cry?

According to Achatz, The baby was fine for about an hour, then started to fuss. The general manager suggested that the mother take it outside of the dining room: she popped into the bathroom for a bit, then came back to the dining room and let the baby continue to fuss.

“It almost felt like it was people projecting this entitlement. Like ‘We’re here, we can do whatever we want, we paid for it,’ without any concern for the people around them,” Achatz told the Reader. That was the problem, not bringing a baby into the dining room in the first place. He says that the restaurant has received feedback from four out of five of the groups in the dining room that night since this story went viral.

Guess who hasn’t written in?

Are you hungry for specifics in this week’s huge Alinea story? [Chicago Reader]